The mere idea that the next Princess of Wales was going to be chosen within a mundane gala and by a simple gesture blew Uther’s - and most of the citizen’s – minds; but, Arthur reaffirmed numerous times that this what he wanted and that his father should request that every high standing woman be at the gala that evening.
So once the sun set, Buckingham Palace was high with life. Fancy cars drove up and women in elegant gowns and men in form fitting suits were revealed; all unwed women hoping to have a chance at the hand of the royal crown. Many older members of the upper echelon of Great Britain already had a suspicion that Prince Arthur already had a woman in mind to spend the rest of his life with. Most had thought that the Prince would have chosen Lady Guinevere, the only daughter of Thomas, Duke of Devonshire. The two had a strong standing friendship since the two were young; but, when Guinevere decided to wed Lancelot, a simple man she met while at University; the world was shocked when Arthur greeted the man with a hug and a broad smile and accepted his offer of being Lancelot’s best man.
Soon, the ballroom was full of enthused single women and their hopeful fathers; and, curious others. Married and courting couples swirled around the dance floor, twirling to the languid beat that the string quartet brought to the open room. Butlers and waitresses weaved through them, each offering a different snack or drink. Suddenly, the strings stopped and the double doors slowly eased opened. “Now welcoming, his Majesty, King Uther; King of Great Britian and Northern Ireland.”
Uther stood, stoic as he simply nodded to a few dukes he called friends before he slowly made his way into the full ballroom. The doors remained open, “Welcoming, Morgana, the Duchess of Cornwall and her consort, Mordred.”
Morgana smiled as she was led by her silent and mysterious lover, the dark-haired male expressionless as he strolled alongside the beautiful woman.
“Welcoming, His Highness, Prince Arthur of Wales,”
The blond male stood in the doorway, his sky-kissed eyes scanned each of the guest’s face, gauging them, analyzing – searching. He nodded at a few, and greeted his surrogate sister with a soft kiss to the cheek. Morgana smiled at him, and welcomed him by her side. The royal family stood at the head of the room for a few seconds before Uther raised his arms, “My family welcomes you to our home and we hope you enjoy your time here. Quartet, please continue!”
The song continued and the couples once again littered the floor. Uther lightly patted Arthur’s arm before heading into the crowd, quickly finding his companions within the masses. Morgana lightly pecked his cheek, “You’ll be fine,” she said before heading with Mordred to the dance floor.
Minutes flew by as Arthur walked around, his hands behind his back. He was dressed in his usual black suit with his white undershirt and a simple black tie. It hugged his athletic body, the muscles that were toned with years of football being showed nicely. The blond hair that he was known for was cut short with just a few curls at the base of his hairline. Eventually, the singles could sense the time was coming and began trickling away from the walls and dance floor and made a makeshift line on the right side of the room.
Arthur merely raised an eyebrow and glanced at Morgana, the girl giggling behind a hand. Arthur sighed and turned back towards the women, all of the smiling softly. He walked down the line and stopped suddenly halfway through. Doing an about face, he walked across the room and stopped in front of a black-haired man, blue eyes peering up at him through thick, black lashes.
Wordlessly, Arthur extended a hand, a smirk on his lips. The quartet halted and a quiet hush fell upon the room. With obvious trepidation, the nameless man took the Prince’s hand. Arthur led him to the middle of the dance floor, the sense of every eye on them and every thought was about them sitting heavily on his shoulders. He turned around and faced the dark-haired man. “Are you crazy?” he hissed.
Arthur snickered under his breath, “It’ll be alright.”
The dark-haired man sighed, “Will you at least let me lead?”
Arthur raised an eyebrow and gently wrapped an arm around the lithe man’s waist. “Oh, Merlin, you should know by now, I will always lead.” He whispered as Merlin wrapped his arms around the Prince’s neck, “Every eye is watching us. The room, quiet, just for us.”
“I think it’s more so shock than for us Arthur,” Merlin snorted.
“Shh,” Arthur said, “They’re playing our song; we’re in my room, you stepping on my feet numerous times,”
“You cussing when I do,” Merlin added, but allowed himself to close his eyes and lose himself within Arthur’s story, relaxing, “Why now? I thought...I thought this was going to be a hoax. You pick a girl. You dance with her. Few months later, she disappears from the media and we still carry on behind the doors.”
Arthur merely shrugged, “Got brave.”
Merlin sighed and gently rest his head on Arthur’s shoulder, “Well, now every eye is going to be on us, watching us, examining us. Waiting for us to mess up. You to realize that Merlin Emrys, mister nobody from the streets can’t be royalty. For you to-“
“Shh,” Arthur said, “This is our moment.”
Merlin snickered, “Okay.”
“And everyone will look back at this moment and remember that it was the first time they saw Merlin Emrys, Prince Consort of Wales, and one day, King of Great Britain alongside the handsome, intelligent, perfect – “
“King Arthur,” Arthur finished with a smile.
Merlin shook his head and opened his eyes. The dance floor once again was filled with people and the soft melody of the violins once again aiding them in their waltz; and Merlin felt that perhaps, marrying the future King wouldn’t be all that bad.